The University of Minnesota West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership works with citizens in the watershed to create and sustain healthy ecosystems, strong local economies and vibrant, self-reliant communities. The Partnership is the lead partner for the Pride of the Prairie local foods initiative, connecting local farmers with local residents to provide healthful foods raised much closer to home than the 1,500 to 2,000 miles most food travels to U.S. dinner plates. US. Dept of Agriculture data shows that for each dollar U.S. consumers spend on food the portion that goes to farmers dropped from 41 cents in 1950 to 19 cents in 2006. Local foods systems invest in local farms through a shorted supply chain and support farmers more directly with a greater portion of the food dollar.
Founded in 2001, Pride of the Prairie is a collaborative effort of the University of Minnesota’s Morris campus, Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and West Central Research and Outreach Center; Sodexo Dining Services; Land Stewardship Project; Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota; Pomme de Terre Food Co-op; Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance; area farmers, and the Upper Minnesota River Valley community. The initiative’s Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign represents:
- A brand that identifies the Upper Minnesota River Valley region and its abundant supply of local, sustainable, healthy foods;
- A campaign that helps people understand food systems and to make ethical and sustainable choices;
- A chapter with partners representing the various sectors of a local food system, working together to promote healthful, sustainable and ethical food choices.
Contributions to Morris Healthy Eating
Pride of the Prairie, through the West Central Partnership, contributes expertise on local food systems, convenes action teams, provides resources to support increased access to fresh foods raised in the region, and facilitates links to university and area resources for Morris Healthy Eating. The partnership provides collaborative leadership for building capacity and advancing positive systems change.